White Sox @ Yankees Series Preview

The Yankees enter this week at 12-6 and in first place in the American League East three games ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays.  Besides a lot of the starting pitching, I have been pretty happy with the way they have played so far.  They now come back home to start a seven game home stand against the Chicago White Sox tonight.

Mr. Quentin, please step down. (Jerry Lai/US Presswire)

The White Sox come into this series at 8-14 and are in last place in the American League Central, including only winning one of their last ten games.  This surprises me quite a bit because they were my second place pick in the division.  But as I have been saying for the last three weeks, it’s still very early and I’m sure they will bounce back.  Let’s just hope they don’t do it in this series.  On paper, they have a pretty strong offense.  Let’s take a look:

  1. Juan Pierre, LF
  2. Alexei Ramirez, SS
  3. Carlos Quentin, RF
  4. Paul Konerko, 1B
  5. Adam Dunn, DH
  6. Alex Rios, CF
  7. AJ Pierzynski, C
  8. Gordon Beckham, 2B
  9. Brent Morel, 3B

As you can see here, the Sox have some real fire power in their lineup, especially in spot 3 through 6.The only problem is that Quentin and Konerko are the only two guys hitting above .300.  Adam Dunn is going to be someone to watch because he is a big lefty who averages just about 40 homers per year and with the short porch in right field in Yankee Stadium, it will be interesting to see if he takes advantage.  Now let’s look at the pitching match-ups:

Monday

Philip Humber (1-2, 4.42 ERA) vs. AJ Burnett (3-0, 4.37 ERA)

Tuesday

Gavin Floyd (2-1, 4.00 ERA) vs. Ivan Nova (1-2, 7.63 ERA)

Wednesday

Mark Buehrle (1-2, 5.40 ERA) vs. Bartolo Colon (1-1, 3.50 ERA)

Thursday 

Edwin Jackson (2-2, 4.88 ERA) vs. CC Sabathia (1-1, 2.73 ERA)

There are a few things to watch here pitching-wise in this series.  First of all, the first three starters in the series for the Yankees.  AJ Burnett needs to have a good start tonight.  He somewhat digressed in his last start as he had to leave the game in the sixth inning, leaving the bases loaded for David Robertson.  They need a solid performance out him of about six or seven strong innings.  After throwing over 30 pitches yesterday, Mariano Rivera will not be available today and Rafael Soriano is probable, but we never know.

Ivan Nova is also someone to watch.  With Kevin Millwood dominating the Minors and Phil Hughes making his first rehab start on Thursday, the pressure is on Nova.  After his first start of the season, he has been pretty bad, not being able to get out of the fifth inning in his last two starts and being skipped over the last time through the rotation.  A good start from Nova on Tuesday night would put the Bombers in a very good pickle.

The pressure is certainly on Nova in his next start. (Antonelli/News)

The last Yankee starter to watch is Bartolo Colon.  In his first Yankee start in Toronto last week, he was terrific.  If he is able to repeat it on Wednesday, he will probably lock himself into the rotation.  He just needs to keep changing speeds and keep guys guessing and he will be fine.

For the Yanks to take this series, they need to keep hitting.  Curtis Granderson needs to keep crushing the ball, along with Alex Rodriguez and Russell Martin.  And if Brett gardner wants to add a hit once in a while, that would be cool too.  But they need to be patient and get into the very weak ChiSox bullpen.  After losing Bobby Jenks this off-season, they don’t have a real closer and manager Ozzie Guillen is just using anyone he thinks can get three outs to close games.  This should be easy for the Bombers because patience is a big part of their game plan on offense anyway.  First pitch tonight will be at 7:00 on YES or ESPN.

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